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Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes is an archaeologist, author and public scholar. She is an Honorary Research Associate at the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, and an Honorary Fellow in the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool.
Alongside her academic expertise, Rebecca has earned a reputation for exceptional public communication, receiving the 2022 Public Anthropology Award from the Royal Anthropological Institute, and the President's Award from the Prehistoric Society.
Her critically acclaimed and bestselling first book KINDRED: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art is a deep dive into the 21st century science and understanding of these ancient relatives. KINDRED won the 2021 PEN Hessell-Tiltman prize for history; Book of the Year 2021 by Current Archaeology; was a finalist in the 2022 Premio Galileo awards; selected as one of 2021's 100 Notable Books by The New York Times, a Book of the Year by The Sunday Times, Book of the Week by The Times and Book of the Day by The Guardian, and is being translated into 19 languages so far.
Her other writing has featured in The New York Times, The Times, The Guardian, Aeon and elsewhere. She is a popular speaker, appearing on a variety of radio programmes, including Front Row, Start The Week, The Infinite Monkey Cage and Free Thinking on BBC Radio 4 and 3, as well as numerous podcasts. She is also a sought-after speaker at events ranging from literary and science festivals, to private fundraiding functions.
Fascinated by the past since childhood – including digging for pot sherds in the family garden – Rebecca studied archaeology through to PhD level. She was especially drawn to the ancient world of the Palaeolithic. Her doctoral thesis, awarded in 2010, was the first synthesis of evidence for late Neanderthals in Britain, and she has since accrued numerous academic publications on their broader archaeology.
Following a prestigious Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship at Université de Bordeaux on Neanderthal and prehistoric landscapes in the Massif Central mountains, from 2015 she diversified into working outside scientific research, and is currently an Honorary Fellow at the University of Liverpool.
As one of the four founders of TrowelBlazers, another strand of Rebecca's work since 2013 has been highlighting the role of women past and present in archaeology and the earth sciences. This includes writing and editing many biographies for the popular website, and projects including co-creating the Fossil Hunter Lottie action figure. Most recently she collaborated with artist Leonora Saunders to create the touring portrait exhibition Raising Horizons, culminating at the UK Houses of Parliament 2018 'Women Firsts' event celebrating one hundred years of women's suffrage.
Further developing this interest, Rebecca is active in current movements to advance equality within the archaeological professions, including being part of the Inclusive Archaeology project, and working collectively with organisations including British Women Archaeologists.
Rebecca is represented by Patrick Walsh, please contact PEW Literary for publicity or appearance enquiries.